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Filing Deadlines Further Extended to Combat COVID-19; Colloquy and Form Available for Remote Proceedings

From Shea Denning, UNC School of Government. Original article found here.

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley entered an order yesterday extending until June 1, 2020 the time and periods of limitations for documents and papers due to be filed and acts due to be done in the trial courts. The Chief Justice previously had extended to April 17, 2020 the deadline for filings, periods of limitation and other acts. She further extended those deadlines based on predictions that late April “may be the apex of the [COVID-19] outbreak in North Carolina.”

Covered filings. The April 13 order applies to pleadings, motions, notices, and other documents and papers to be filed in any NC county on or after March 16, 2020 and before the close of business on June 1, 2020 in the following types of cases: civil actions, criminal actions, estates, and special proceedings. Those documents are deemed to be timely filed if they are filed before the close of business on June 1, 2020.

Covered acts. The order further provides that acts due to be done in any NC county on or after March 16, 2020 and before the close of business on June 1, 2020 in civil actions, criminal actions, estates, and special proceedings are timely if done before the close of business on June 1, 2020.

The order does not apply to documents and papers due to be filed or acts due to be done in the appellate courts.

Bond forfeiture extensions. The order also extends certain deadlines in bond forfeiture proceedings. If entry of final judgment under G.S. 15A-544.6 or the granting of a motion to set aside under G.S. 15A-544.5(d)(4) is due to occur on or after April 14, 2020 and before or on September 29, 2020, any motion to set aside or any objection to a motion to set aside that is due to be filed within that period is timely if filed before the close of business on September 30, 2020.

The order further provides that any entry of final judgment under G.S. 15A-544.6 or any grant of a motion to set aside under G.S. 15A-544.5(d)(4) that is due to occur on or after April 14, 2020 and before or on September 29, 2020 is stayed until after the close of business on September 30, 2020.

Colloquy and form for remote proceedings. Readers may recall that the Chief Justice entered an order on April 2 authorizing judicial officials to conduct proceedings by remote audio and video transmission regardless of whether remote proceedings are authorized by statute. The order imposed certain limitations, including that parties consent to a remote proceeding and that criminal defendants waive any right to confrontation or personal presence.

The School of Government worked with the Office of General Counsel for the Administrative Office of the Courts to develop a waiver of personal appearance colloquy and a form waiver of personal appearance, which are available here under the entry for Remote Proceedings in Criminal Cases. Both documents are written to apply generically to criminal and infraction proceedings conducted pursuant to Emergency Directive 3 in the Chief Justice’s April 2, 2020 order. They do not need to be used for a proceeding in a noncapital case for which the General Statutes expressly authorize audio and video transmission: initial appearances, bail hearings (unless defendant objects), first appearances. and arraignments (for “not guilty” pleas).